Matt Lauer isn’t the only NBC name who draws scrutiny in Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book, “Catch and Kill,” about his reporting of the Harvey Weinstein sex assault allegations: The book also offers details about the behavior of NBC News chief Andy Lack while he was an executive producer at CBS in the 1980s, the New York Post wrote based on excerpts of the book it obtained.
Lack, known to be a close friend of Lauer, was brought to NBC for his second tour there — his first was in 1993 — in 2015 to restore the network’s reputation after the Brian Williams crisis. Two years later came the allegations against Lauer, then the host of the NBC mainstay “Today.” Lack oversaw Lauer’s firing and this week fired off a memo to NBC staffers denying Farrow’s allegations that NBC honchos knew about Lauer’s behavior and tried to cover it up.
But Farrow spoke with Jane Wallace, former anchor of the CBS news magazine show “West 57th,” who said that Lack was “almost unrelenting” in pursuing her after she was hired, repeatedly asking her out to dinner to celebrate her contract, according to the book.
“If your boss does that, what are you gonna say?” Wallace told Farrow. “You know if you say ‘I don’t want to celebrate with you,’ you’re asking for trouble.”
Wallace’s affair with Lack was “eventually consensual,” she said, “but I didn’t just get flirted with. I got worked over.”
Wallace claimed that Lack bullied her out of her job when their relationship turned sour, and she was eventually forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement. “It wasn’t till I really got out of there that I felt the full force of it. Of how disgusted I was,” she told Farrow. “The truth is, if he hadn’t been like that, I would have kept that job. I loved that job.”
Farrow also wrote that a “West 57th” associate producer, Jennifer Laird, confirmed a “relationship” with Lack that turned “extremely uncomfortable” when the relationship was over, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which obtained a copy of the book. Farrow wrote that Lack would not allow Laird to be transferred to another division and forced her to work long hours and on weekends and suggested she cancel vacations.
“There’s clearly a reason you don’t get involved with your boss,” Laird told Farrow, according to the book. Farrow wrote that Lack denied the allegations of an affair with Laird, who later served 7 years as mayor of Nyack, New York. The affair with Wallace was reported decades earlier but without details from Wallace.
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[Featured image: NBC News chairman Andrew Lack and NBCUniversal Cable chairman Bonnie Hammer in 2018/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]